A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas
Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson
We all knew there was going to be a third Harold & Kumar film eventually. And when it was revealed that the third film would involve them saving Christmas, we were like “Sure!” because when you’ve ridden a cheetah, saving Christmas is just an eventual future step. But what we weren’t prepared for was the third installment being in 3D. Arriving just in time for not everyone to be burnt out on 3D yet, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas gives us a real 3D experience combined with grossout stoner comedy and wacky hijinks ensuing all over you in three dimensions.
The original Harold & Kumar is among my favorite films. It is also an important film in recent history as it showed you could have a film Asian American leads that was successful, entertaining, and profitable. It also helped rekindle Neil Patrick Harris’s career as an awesome fun guy. But you know all this by now. What everyone cares about is if A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is any damn good.
And it is good. It’s not spectacular, but it holds its own. A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is just as good as the previous installment, though doesn’t approach the original, as few films can. It is still a goofy stoner comedy, filled with wacky adventures and hijinks, and plenty of scenes of characters taking or tripped out on
Should you watch it in 3D? Yes, because the entire film is non-stop 3D effects. The smoke, the eggs, the giant claymation dongs, all effects you need to see in 3D to better immerse yourself in the world of Harold & Kumar. Unfortunately, this super 3D mania may hurt the film when it hits DVD. Even though characters in the film purchase a 3D tv, many Americans do not have one, particularly the stoner audience targets Harold & Kumar thrive on.
3D Christmas is stuffed with callbacks to previous installments, including a trip to White Castle itself. And how many times can you see people breaking the fourth wall in the third dimension? Only a couple of dozen times, if you’re lucky! And I must mention I saw this for free, because I’m awesome like that. And also honest.
It has been six years since the previous film, and in the intervening years, Harold and Kumar’s lives have diverged and grown apart. Harold is now married To Maria and a rich Wall Street tycoon (as we find out as the Wall Street Protestors toss 3D eggs and other filthier things at him) while Kumar continues to live a life of single squalor and unemployment at their old apartment. Each has their own lame replacement best friend, who they find more annoying than fun to hang out with. But a fateful mysterious package sent to Harold at the old apartment address prompts him to go track down his friend who he hasn’t seen in a long time.
Thus, another Harold and Kumar adventure begins!
Their reunion results in the burning down of Harold’s Christmas tree, which is bad because it was hand raised by his father-in-law, played by Danny Trejo at his angry father-in-law best. He has an unhealthy fixation with having the perfect Christmas (to honor his late mother, murdered by Korean gang members all played by John Cho in the flashback!) so Harold must replace the tree before he returns from midnight mass. He keeps bumping into Kumar, and soon events spiral out of control, including Ukrainian gangsters, musical productions, claymation snow monsters, kids on drugs, Wafflebot, Jolly old St. Nick, and a hilarious riff on the flagpole scene from A Christmas Story that’s sadly spoiled by the trailers.
Like the other films, at the end our heroes each learn lessons about their lives as a result of the wacky barrage. It’s that whole Andy Dufresne thing about crawling through a river of crap and coming out clean on the other side, except no cool poster/tunnel reveal.
3D Christmas is filled with lots of digital effects/flashbacks that take advantage of their computer construction with the 3D, giving the film a more stylized look than the previous two. There are several “in 3D” lines spoken to no one, which the actors remark on the bizarre behavior and you’ve probably seen them in the trailers. One odd thing is there are Wall Street protestors in the film. This sequence was probably shot before Occupy Wall Street became a huge thing, and the fact the protests are filled with the target audience of the film might not be a good thing, since Harold is one of the people they’re protesting. It will be interesting to see if this goes anywhere.
There are also several cameos: Patton Oswalt, Bobby Lee, Elias Koteas, RZA, Eddie Kaye Thomas and David Krumholtz, and Richard Riehle. But no Christopher Meloni! 3D Christmas is a good fun time at the theater, but not a “don’t miss” experience. It’s the kind of film you expect it to be, only in 3D and more gross. If you are the audience, you will love it, and if you aren’t, you’re wasting your money. And no need to stay for the end of the credits. Which should give you a good head start on going to get some waffles! Because you will want some waffles. Go eat waffles now.
If you see one movie with claymation dongs this holiday season, make it A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas!
Rated 7/10 (Silent Night, Holy Night, All is calm, All is bright, Round yon Virgin Mother and Child, Holy Infant so tender and mild, Sleep in heavenly peace)
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